MOSCOW A top Russian general said Tuesday that the military will take adequate countermeasures in response to U.S. missile defense plans.
Lt. Gen. Yevgeny Buzhinsky told reporters that Russia was thinking about "asymmetrical" steps if the United States deploys missile defense elements in Europe.
He did not give specifics, but said the military does not plan to strengthen the Soviet-era missile defense system protecting Moscow, which was developed in the 1970s.
Buzhinsky added that Russia appreciated U.S. proposals intended to soothe Russian concerns, but said they were not enough to change Moscow's perception that the U.S. system would undermine its security.
Washington has promised to delay activating the planned new sites in Poland and the Czech Republic unless Iran proves itself an imminent threat to Europe. It also offered to let Russian officers monitor the sites to make sure they are not directed against Russia.
"We welcome these proposals as a step in the right direction, the acknowledgment that the Russian concerns are well-grounded," Buzhinsky, who heads the Russian Defense Ministry's international cooperation department, said at a news conference. "But the United States needs to abandon its plans to deploy missile defense components in Europe if it wants to remove Russia's concerns."
He added that the U.S. trust-building measures lacked specifics and were "formulated in such a way that they could be canceled at any moment."
Buzhinsky said that talks on giving Russian officers permanent access to the planned U.S. radar facility in the Czech Republic and the battery of missile interceptors in Poland had bogged down in arguments. He dismissed Polish and Czech arguments that they could only let Russian officers in on the basis of reciprocity.
Buzhinsky said that a Polish demand to be able to see other military facilities in Russia's westernmost Kaliningrad region was "absurd," urging the United States to persuade its allies to let Russian monitors in.
Buzhinsky said that Russia would respond to the U.S. missile defense plans without plunging into a new arms race.
"We are thinking about asymmetrical measures, we have them," Buzhinsky said. "Naturally, we envisage possible retaliatory measures to minimize the risk for our security."
He refused to elaborate, but said that Russia does not plan to strengthen the missile defense system at the capital.
"It would be very expensive. We have different priorities in the development and modernization of our military other than creation of these toys," Buzhinsky said.